A man known as "the folded man" has recently undergone a surgery that has changed his life. The pictures are incredible so read on to find out how this change has impacted his life.
A Chinese farmer has undergone a life-changing surgery.
via: ShutterstockAfter being diagnosed with a rare disease that "folds" his body, Li Hua from China can finally stand upright.
It all started when he was nineteen-years-old.
via: ShutterstockThat's how old he was when he was diagnosed with a disease known as ankylosing spondylitis, a rare type of arthritis that means his body started folding in on itself.
But his family was too poor to be able to afford the surgery to try and fix it.
via: YouTubeSo he has been living this way for over twenty-five years.
So, what is ankylosing spondylitis?
via: YouTubeThis disease is hardly ever talked about as it is very rare. It involves inflammation in the spine, making the back, rib cage and neck stiff and painful.
This painful inflammation causes the bones to wear away.
via: YouTubeThe body then starts producing lots of extra calcium in order to try and repair the damaged bones but this also occurs in a lot of the wrong places.
And of course, the bones then start conjoining with other areas.
via: YouTubeThis means that each individual bone in the spine starts fusing together which loses its overall flexibility causing the extreme shift in the posture known as kyphosis.
However, it can only be fully identified when the spine has curved over 45 degrees.
via: YouTubeAnd there are several other causes for the illness including bad posture and abnormal development during birth.
Symptoms usually start when you're young and gradually get worse...
via: YouTubeAnd in extreme cases like Li Hua's, it can last an entire lifetime. This then has a dramatic knock-on effect on other areas in life, like eating, sleeping and of course, social aspects.
It's very painful.
via: YouTubeThe inflammation causes a lot of discomfort and can also spread to other parts of the body, which is why it is an extremely dangerous illness to have.
In terms of the United States, approximately 1.6 million people have ankylosing spondylitis.
Li Hua's case was very extreme.
He was forced to rely on his elderly mother to take care of him.
But this surgery has been life-changing.
And miraculously, it has given him a new lease of life.
And now the recovery process is going to help him walk again.
And for the first time in a decade, Li Hua was able to lie down flat on his back and look at his mother.
Recent clips of the man show him walking with a Zimmer frame.
And even better news, he has now returned to his home town.
via: ShutterstockHe's opened up his own little shop and continuing his recovery alongside his business.
This is the best news ever.
via: ShutterstockWe wish him a speedy recovery.
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